Janna Payne Sells remembers well “the crate”—a 75-pound behemoth crammed with 200-plus folders she needed to review as instructional facilitator for an inner-city, dual-immersion, Title I elementary school.
In the Wright City R-II School District in Missouri, the Wright City Academy provides online alternative education and credit recovery programs for at-risk high school students attending Wright City High School.
The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.
Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is in the middle of a multiyear transformation known as S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow). Initiated in 2013, the goal of S.T.A.T. is ambitious: To cultivate a 21st century technology learning environment for its 111,000 students that prepares globally competitive graduates.
The number and variety of courses that can be offered in a small rural district is often limited. That was not acceptable to Erik Belcher, superintendent of Fayette Local School District in northwest Ohio.
Audio plays a crucial role in making collaborative student learning environments effective. Students need to be able to communicate with their teacher when necessary, and teachers should be able to hear what all students are saying during small group instruction.
When the projectors throughout the Phoenix Union High School District were found to be outdated and inefficient in 2013, administrators knew they were due for an upgrade. “During a larger initiative to increase student engagement across the district, I noticed that the projectors we had were so old and were so dim that it was impacting classroom management and student engagement,” says Don Fournier, the district’s division manager of information services.
With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, it became apparent that all students in Placentia-Yorba Linda USD in Orange County needed better keyboarding, higher order thinking and information fluency skills in order to perform well on the Smarter Balanced assessment.
When Michael Lubelfeld came to Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (Ill.) last summer, the superintendent known as a super-communicator knew that engaging students was crucial to their education. So the new superintendent leveraged the district’s technology, including school administration software, to keep students in regular contact with teachers, administrators and each other.
With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations.
The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years.
When Linda Quinn became superintendent of Washington’s Ferndale School District in 2009, it was the start of a new era for the district, one that included some unprecedented challenges.
Since Lancaster School District (Calif.) is a K8 school system, Rebecca Cooksey, director of IT, knows that none of her students have optimal listening skills yet. “Students’ audio processing tracks are not fully developed until they are 15,” Cooksey says. And the 25 percent of Lancaster’s 14,000 students who are ELL face additional challenges in listening to and processing information presented orally by teachers.
To achieve measured success through blended learning, it is essential for educators to create learning experiences that enhance student understanding through technology. The team at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools assists teachers at low-performing schools by providing resources such as engaging instructional software that create these experiences.
Collaborative learning and small group activities can facilitate higher-level thinking in students. However, it can be difficult for teachers to effectively evaluate that all groups and students are on-task and learning, and it can be challenging for students to communicate with their teachers in a small group setting.